“Global drying and the world water crisis must be given the same attention as global warming. We take access to fresh water for granted in countries like the UK and Ireland, but we all need to value water more and, for Nestlé, this means sharing good water management techniques throughout our supply chain.”
Head of Safety, Health and Environmental Sustainability, Nestlé UK and Ireland
Population growth, consumption habits and the impacts of climate change are combining to present a serious threat to the security of one of the world’s most precious resources – water.
Nestlé’s long-term success depends on the secure supply of fresh water which businesses, consumers and farmers in particular rely on – two-thirds of all human water usage is for agriculture.
Nestlé UK and Ireland has water reduction programmes in place at all its manufacturing sites, offices and distribution centres. To date we have reduced absolute water usage by 36% since 2006 – well ahead of our own 2020 target and our commitments under the Food and Drink Federation’s Federation House Commitment.
This has been achieved through a range of site specific reductions including:
- The installation of a new £500,000 waste treatment plant at our Girvan site in September 2010.
- Removing cooling towers and installing new washing systems at Fawdon reducing the amount of water taken in by 25%.
- Investing £845,000 in an advanced treatment plant at Dalston to produce clean waste water from the production of Nescafé Cappuccino. The by-product from this process is used as fertiliser by local farmers.
- Installing a new water control system in the Buxton mineral water production line to reduce the amount of water used by 50% - today only 1.26 litres of water is needed to produce 1 litre of Buxton mineral water.
- Water footprinting studies have also been carried out on some of our key brands working with a WWF consultant and Delft University. The study showed that the total water footprint of a 750 gram carton of Bitesize Shredded Wheat equates to 274 litres per packet when served with semi-skimmed milk – or to put this into context, a typical Bitesize Shredded Wheat breakfast equates to 106 litres per serving (16 litres for biscuits and 90 litres for milk).
Tackling the world water crisis
To mark World Environment Day 2010, the UK Foreign Policy Centre launched a report Tackling the world water crisis: Reshaping the future of foreign policy. Sponsored by Nestlé UK and edited by WWF-UK, the publication contains short essays from leading academics, policy makers and environmental experts on water-related challenges for the 21st century.